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Global Groove 2004: Nam June Paik in the Deutsche Guggenheim


Nam June Paik is a pioneer of the electronic media. Since the sixties, the vision of the nearly total mediatization of the world has found new and innovative forms of expression in his video works, objects, and installations. The Korean artist, who lives in the United States, is currently presenting a new multiple-monitor installation in his exhibition "Global Groove 2004," which can be seen from April 17 through July 9 in the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin. This recent installation combines his video experiments from four decades with a high-speed cut-up comprised of pop music, performance footage, and manipulated television imagery.



Nam June Paik: Global Groove, 1973, Video Still
Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix
©Electronic Arts Intermix



As a celebration of media art, Global Groove 2004 will transform the Deutsche Guggenheim into a dynamic space of surfaces and screens filled with moving images. Paik's first major art installation since the laser projects he created for his retrospective The Worlds of Nam June Paik at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Global Groove celebrates the artist's return to Berlin, the site of many of his earlier triumphs.




Nam June Paik: Global Groove, 1973, Video Still
Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix
©Electronic Arts Intermix

In a dynamic environment of TV-screen walls and monitor groupings, the visitor is confronted with a visual flood of altered TV imagery and video sequences: dancers moving in time to rock music, Pepsi commercials, drumming Navajo Indians, psychedelic swirls of color, the grotesquely distorted face of Richard Nixon, footage from contemporary news coverage, game shows, and soaps - and, again and again, the bodies and voices of those musicians, writers, and artists that wrote history together with Paik himself crystallize out of this dizzying spin: John Cage, Merce Cunningham, the Beat poet Allen Ginsburg, Karlheinz Stockhausen, the New York Living Theatre, the cellist and performer Charlotte Moorman. The installation utilizes elements of Paik's trademark "video walls": monitors installed in compact grids for the purpose of cacophonously orchestrated video screenings.

Global Groove 2004 takes its title from Paik's legendary videotape Global Groove (1973) which proclaimed the future of a global artist's television. Broadcast in 1974 on WNET/Thirteen in New York, Nam June Paik's multifaceted Global Groove would become one of the most influential and legendary examples of video art. Produced in 1973 at WNET's Artists' Television Laboratory, Global Groove took an all-encompassing view of culture that epitomized Paik's artistic approach to television and the medium of video for broadcast. It transformed the broadcasting studio into an experimental venue for dancers, musicians, and performance artists. In celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of the Global Groove broadcast, Global Groove 2004 presents an installation that will feature Paik's global television projects from the late 1960s and 1970s. Re-mixed with Global Groove will be the single-track works 9/23 Experiment with David Atwood (1969), Suite 212 (1977), and Merce by Merce by Paik (1975-78) all of which celebrate his distinctive image processing and his collaborations with other artists.



Nam June Paik: Global Groove, 1973, Video Still
Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix
©Electronic Arts Intermix


The framework of Global Groove 2004 in the Deutsche Guggenheim is created by an austere and minimal video installation that harks back to Paik's closed circuit works of the sixties and seventies. Similarly to his famous work TV Buddha (1974), One Candle (1988) confronts the subject with its likeness in a sensuous and philosophical manner. Two video cameras capture the moving image of a burning candle, which several projectors shine large-scale onto the gallery walls in the TV colors blue, red, and green. This is one of the few video projections Paik has made: the space becomes filled with the vibrant overlapping images of a flickering candle appearing in a variety of mixed hues. While the 'real' candle slowly burns down, time becomes palpable throughout the process of image projection. One Candle allows us to experience transitoriness in a paradoxical way - both our own and that of the media images that inundate us on a daily basis.